Monday, July 13, 2020

Rural areas may have advantages in economic recovery from pandemic

Though the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the nation's economy as a whole, rural areas have seen fewer job losses and shorter shutdowns than average, and may be at an advantage in economic recovery, according to a quarterly report by rural lender CoBank. Job losses in rural counties averaged 9 percent, compared to 14% in metropolitan counties, Chuck Abbott reports for Successful Farming.

"Some 7.5 million people gained jobs in May and June, but two-thirds of people who lost work due to the pandemic were still out of work," Abbott reports. The Daily Yonder notes that rural areas, especially ones that rely on agriculture rather than tourism, were somewhat insulated from job losses, but says such rural areas were hurting economically even before the pandemic.

CoBank Vice President Dan Kowalski writes that, while rural areas might be better positioned to recover, the overall economy is fragile, and signs point to the recovery hitting a plateau. The economy could fall again after that, and economy recovery will be "shallower than previously expected" if the virus can't be controlled, Kowalski wrote.

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